02 August 2009

Funny People

Judd Apatow, in his third written and directed feature, extends his range and discovers that death and stand-up comedy are more than enough to carry a film.

URBAN: I wasn't disappointed, but in the end, it didn't deliver the punch and the flush that his other films did.

This film is a bit difficult to review. It was extremely broad. The funniest parts were the stand-up routines and the most artistic parts,,,, well, they just weren't there. Suffice it to say, that in summation, it goes along pleasantly until Marshall Mathers shows up.

By incorporating the stand-up routines as a major storyline, Apatow hamstrings the great strength of his writing- the comedic give and take between his characters. Don't get me wrong, the Jonah Hill one-liners are still there, but they fall flat compared to the dynamic stand-up performance that he gives.

The story is not too long, but it seems so because of the editing. The plot line that tells the story of George (Sandler) and "the one that got away" could have been cut into the rest of the story in a way that didn't make it seem like it was 'added'.

I might be going out on a limb here, but I felt that the other two Apatow films were much more aware of their content and because of this the form was much easier to match. This point is best understood by thinking of two specific images.

1. In The 40 Year Old Virgin, the shot of the room from the floor up after his friends have cleared all of the "nerdy" things from his room

2. Knocked Up, the entire birth scene and the images of Seth Rogen and Heigl together in the car and the crane shot that shows their place on the feeway.

Both of these do a great job of capturing the characters, the mood, and the message that these films carry-and they do so in a way that provides that feel-good moment that so many look for in a film experience.

This film, as much as it is about death, is also about stand-up comedy. This theme, opposed to romanticism and the beauty of life, does not provide that same feeling. The most appropriate shots in this film are the furtive glances that Simmons sends to his lover and the conversation that Simmons and Eminem have at Simmon's "I made it" party. They both speak of futility and unmet expectations-

The same ones that I had for this film.

URBAN: Recommended, but its not the same type of comedy that you would expect from Apatow.

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